Champions League qualification farce

 by Martin Belam, 6 May 2005

The F.A. have announced today that regardless of who wins the Champions League in Istanbul on May 25th, it will be the team placed fourth in the Premiersip who qualify for next seasons competition.

I can't blame the F.A. - they don't set the rules for the Champions League - UEFA do. I can't blame Everton for wanting to claim the place, as Alan Hansen pointed out, at the start of the season everyone knew fourth place meant Champions League qualification.

You can't play for a whole season then move the goalposts and change the rules right at the end simply because of a series of unforeseen events.

UEFA set up the rules. So complacent are they in their pandering to the big clubs from the big leagues, their rules don't envisage a situation where the team that wins their Champions League may not finish in the qualifying places from their domestic league.

It may all turn out to be academic, Milan are a strong team and Liverpool may well not win.

But if they do, UEFA will be running a competition next year called the Champions League that not only features teams who are not the champions of their own country, but does not even feature the champions of Europe. I might sound like an editorial coming down from a high-horse, but shame on them for the way they have devalued this competition over the years in the pursuit of money.

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